Monday, October 10, 2011

Seductions by Ray Garton (1984): Sweet Lovely Death

Promising a tale of eroticized bloodshed and death, this first novel by proto-splatterpunk Ray Garton boasts a truly lurid and ludicrous cover image (thanks, Steve Kropp, whoever you are!). Sadly it is pretty much a miss for any horror-fiction fan. Not sure if this will surprise anybody. I really had fun with Live Girls (1987), but Crucifax (1988) left me feeling vastly indifferent. True, I like how the title Seductions is rendered in gore and the lady looks to be having a lovely time hanging there, but that's the best thing about the novel.

Once again ancient mythical creatures the succubi and incubi are making trouble for regular folk in a small town populated by horny teenagers and their put-upon high school teachers. Death becomes something like the ultimate orgasm as the creatures seduce, fuck, then somehow... absorb, their victims. While Garton makes several of his characters sympathetic and concerned for others, it's obvious this is an early novel by a writer who would grow more confident both with characterization and horror. YA style and themes jostle around with pretty graphic sex-and-violence scenes - more toothy genitalia! - while shaky dialogue creaks everywhere.

1999 reprint from Subterranean Press

This is a book I remember having when I was a teenager but couldn't really get into it even then, and got rid of my copy. I like having the book now because its cover is a great example of tacky horror paperback cover art, but reading it was a bit embarrassing for me today. I did appreciate the vintage-y scenes taking place in a video rental store and a reference to Val Lewton, and the final page acknowledges that no one can ever make nightmares go away. True that. Still, unless you're a horror or Garton completist - do not pay collector prices for it - I can't honestly recommend Seductions to anyone.

1 comment:

Angel Zapata said...

Great review. It's definitely Garton's earliest and weakest effort. To me, it ranks as low as his second novel, Darklings. In my opinion, it wasn't until his novel "Dark Channel" that I really began to enjoy his work.

BTW, I'm a big horror and scifi paperback collector and I really love what you have going on here. I'll be spending some time wandering about these halls.